What makes a good car auction site?
A good car auction site will have an easy to use user interface as well as easy-to-understand functionality. Most of these sites will offer both clean title and salvage vehicle auctions. In short, clean title means it’s a regular used car versus salvage which means the car has some sort of considerable damage on it.
Overall, a good car auction site should make your car bidding and buying experience much easier and more efficient.
Tips for success in your auction:
- Make sure you have additional money for any repairs – As with most things bought in auction, auction cars usually need some work. Be sure to have the additional budget to be able to afford at least a few hundred bucks in repairs after the auction. Knowing the car’s history (explained in more depth below) is quite valuable in figuring this number out.
- Know your cars OR have someone with you who does – Expertise regarding cars and their worth is the real key to success in a car auction. If you wouldn’t consider yourself a car expert and don’t know someone who is, it might be worth it to pay someone a small fee to consult with about your bidding.
- Make sure that you’re aware of the history of the car you’re bidding on – This is seemingly obvious but it’s so important it can’t be said enough. We speculate that any car you can’t look up with a simple search on CarFax might be too risky of any investment.
- Realistically consider the potential lifespan of the car – Most auction vehicles have been used, a lot. When you buy a car in an auction you really need to seriously weigh the risk versus benefit of owning that car and that includes making a realistic guess as to how much longer it will last. Once you have figured this out adjust your bid accordingly.
- Ask questions – This is another one of those obvious points that just needs to be stressed. Don’t just start bidding on a car because it’s the “car of your dreams” based on one picture. Have a list of questions and ask them. If you don’t get answers or get answers that “beat around the bush” then don’t bother bidding in that auction.
- Set a max bid – Be realistic here. Set the maximum price that you could or would be willing to pay for a car and, under any circumstance, do not bid over that number.
- Don’t let emotion cloud your judgement – It’s easy to get in a bidding war when someone keeps “one-upping” your bids. Realize, you set a budget for a reason – to avoid bidding on and winning a car at a price that you can’t pay.
How to get your new car home?
That’s simple. The easiest and most efficient way to get your newly won car to you is with an auto shipping company. This way you don’t have to take a trip to wherever the car is located and then drive it all the way back to your home. Shipping your car rather than driving it all the way home yourself, will actually help you save some money. You can see for yourself by visiting a car shipping company’s website and getting a free quote.
Although, driving the car home yourself is also an option. It will cost you more and it will take much more of your time, but you will be able to spend some quality time right off the bat with your newly purchased vehicle. However, you do increase the risk of damage such as chips to your new car by driving it home. Either way, the choice is yours.
The definitive list of best car auction sites with reviews:
- E-Bay Motors
E-Bay is the long running auction juggernaut of the internet. It’s a pretty good choice for car auctions as well. Its upsides include verifiable seller reviews and feedback as well as buyer protection which includes a money-back guarantee. The site is also quite easy to navigate and has a user-friendly set up as well.
ADESA is a car specific auction site. It boasts great features like “watch-lists” and advanced bidding with “auto-bid.” Unfortunately, though, you will need to be an authorized dealer (you’ll need to prove you’re a dealer in order to use the site).
- Auction Auto Mall
Auction Auto Mall is another car specific auction site. The best part of this site is that it is the largest online car auction marketplace. So, there’s a seemingly endless number of auctions to check out at all times. Now, one potential downside is that only authorized dealers can HOLD the auctions meaning that you won’t be buying from any private sellers. However, that’s also a good thing because it means you’ll have some added extra buyer protection as well.
Copart is a very basic site offering access to a few auctions each day. It’s definitely a good site to check fairly regularly as an alternative to some of the larger auction sites out there.
Dashub is an interesting concept. It’s essentially a dealership that bids on your behalf so you can, in fact, have access to some dealership only auctions. They obviously do take a fee on top of what you won your auction for but it’s not outrageous. The issue is that for any sort of “warranty” on any vehicle you will need to buy a “service contract” directly from Dashub which they refer to as a “warranty.” There is less buyer protection here than with other auction sites.
Abetter.bid offers auctions on both clean title and salvage auctions. They are a registered Copart Auto Auction broker. So, you might want to take a look at Copart in conjunction with your search on Abetter.bid.
AutoTrader has some of the best targeting options on the web for your car search. They can narrow your search down with a numerous variety of filters. It’s also a long-running and highly trusted name in the automotive world.
Carvana is another very trustworthy option for your car auction needs. They are a used car vendor, but the cars must go through a rigor of inspection in order to be deemed okay to be sold on the site. On top of being subjected to an Experian Auto Check they are also subjected to a one-hundred-and-fifty-point inspection.
Vroom is one of the most thorough and complete options on this list. They put all the cars listed on their site through a one-hundred-and-twenty-point inspection as well as offer a seven day or two-hundred-and-fifty-mile test drive on any vehicle on their site.
CarGurus (which was founded by the Co-Founder of TripAdvisor) offers the web’s most data-driven analysis of all their auctions. Basically, this means that listings are ranked by the market value of the car and the seller’s reputation, and nobody can pay to have their particular listing promoted. Car Gurus wants the most honest interaction with dealers, providing reviews and market histories of them as well as their listings.
- Bring a Trailer
Bring a Trailer might not be the most visually stunning car auction site, but it does boast some great features that will help make your search a lot easier. For example, their “related listings” feature is second-to-none and will help you find the vehicle you’re looking for quickly. This site is particularly good if you’re looking for a classic car.
AutoTempest pulls listings from a bunch of car auction sites like E-Bay and Craigslist and puts them in one easy to navigate spot. This can certainly help you save time but likely not money.
Autobytel is one of the biggest search engines you can use to find new or used cars, auto reviews, car bidding and buying tips, and much more. They also have “What’s Hot Now” and “My Garage” which are a couple of nice features that will help make your search just a bit easier.
You are probably questioning why craigslist is on this list when some of the other options seem so incredibly trustworthy. Well, it is a great way to keep the price low and to keep your search fairly close to you, so you might not have the need to ship your new vehicle either. However, you will be dealing with a private seller so just be aware you will need to do your own due diligence such as requesting inspection and so on.
Now-Car is a site with powerful comparison pricing which they actually pull directly from Edmunds.com. They are self-described as “automotive and tech wizards” and we are inclined to agree.
- Kelley Blue Book
One of the most trusted names in the auto industry, Kelley Blue Book, also gives you access to bid on some cars as well. This is easily isn’t the best option if you’re looking to win a deal on the cheap, but the buyer protection is so good it’s definitely worth spending some more money.
NadaGuides is the website for the National Automotive Dealers Association. Here you can check out vehicles side by side to be sure that you are getting the top deal for the price, and you can also get the benefit of their payment calculator and vehicle record search resources as well.
- E-Bay Motors